Truth in a Post-9/11 World
This post comes to you from Memphis, Tennessee, where I am spending a few days with our youngest daughter. I’ll be back in Langhorne late Saturday night. So, on 9/10 and 9/12 I will be flying and on 9/11 I will be at Shiloh National Battlefield in southwest Tennessee. I’ll be thinking about our country and our times.
I will remember the community worship service in Beaver, Pennsylvania, on the evening of 9/11/2001, an altogether amazing event, and especially how no one really wanted to go home that early fall evening. They just wanted to be with each other, the hymns and the prayers still settling in their hearts. I will remember the desperate emails from friends in Brazil and how the elders at Igreja Presbiteriana called the people of Favela da Ventosa to prayer and fasting for their American friends in Pennsylvania.
How do you remember September 11, 2001?
I will remember the pundits saying that the day would change everything forever. In some ways it did and some ways it did not. Getting on an airplane is a much bigger hassle than it was on September 10, 2001. A distant war lingers on eight years later and it’s hard to remember exactly why. Politics are ugly and distrust high, the nation divided by colors, red and blue, and by values, traditional and progressive. The economy had bubbled and burst and is a mess. If things have changed, it has not been for the better.
But we have new president whose election represents hope and change for many who were hopeless and thought things would never change. Immigrants who still don’t speak the language work hard to come to our country and love it in ways some native born have forgotten. Maybe some change has been for the better.
And some things just haven’t changed much at all. We’re still too busy, too distracted, to scattered, too worried about self and too little concerned about neighbors. Children get the short end of too much of our family life, of school politics and adult attention. We’re only vaguely aware that something seems to be wrong. We add our voices to Pilate’s tired question, “What is truth?”
Change for the worse, change for the better and no change at all. It was and it is into just such a world, gray and uncertain, that the gospel always comes, vibrant and alive, hopeful and encouraging. To a world tired of change, the gospel declares “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” To people who are desperately seeking change, the gospel declares, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” To a world wondering about truth, the gospel declares that truth has a name.
So as I am in the air, I will think of the passengers on those planes eight years ago, their heroism and their deaths. As I walk the old battlefield, I will think about the price of liberty and justice for all.
I will think of a world where nothing seems to change and everything seems to change, and I will thank God for the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever; the good news that those who are in Christ are new creations; the good news that truth has a name and that he loves us.